20 April 2007 | tedg
Here's another old movie where the distance from the "original" events (here the writing of the stories) is closer to the movie than the movie is from us. It makes it even odder that the era of the story is shifted to the era of the movie, with cars and phones.
I'll watch any old detective story. Anything along these lines until 1940 or so was important to the development of narrative, no matter how bad. This one is no masterpiece; the plot is muddled, but the fact that the ending is missing is almost better because you can imagine something better than what the filmmaker can. We might even have done away with the latter half of the thing.
But there is one interesting thing: the legacy of the actors. The Barrymore gestures of Holmes are the basis for the silent-filmlike excess of Jeremy Brett. You can see William Powell, the famous star of the Thin Man series, which reinvented the detective film genre. And you can watch Watson played by the man who would presage noir with "Topper." Both in their first film.
And I suppose there's some mild pleasure in seeing obsolete visions of female beauty.
The Holmes here does no detecting except for deducing that Watson has moved his dressingtable.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.